Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Christmas Ferns

I've been saving some pictures of fern fiddleheads that started to unfold in mid-May, to show you when I could also show you the finished leaves.  Ferns all unfold as some sort of fiddlehead, and all have spores rather than seeds like most flowering plants.  I think ferns are my favourite of all plants, and Christmas Fern is one of my favourite ferns.

Christmas Fern fiddleheads are among the earliest, and come up covered in white hairs, tightly coiled.

A week or two later, depending on warmth and moisture, they have extended and partly unfolded, but are still a very fragile green.

And a month after they start emerging, they are full size leaves, the 18" frond cut into numerous separate leaflets.  This is what is described as a 'once-cut' fern, only cut once into the mid-rib forming these leaflets.

Typically the leaflets on the upper end of the frond are noticeably smaller than those lower down, a pattern that shows up very well in this picture taken the other day.

And this older picture from later in the season shows how the back surface of the upper frond is covered in brown spore cases, a notable identifying feature of Christmas Fern.  Tomorrow, a few more fiddleheads and their frond.

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  1. These are great. Thanks for sharing. Amazing that it takes them a month to develop

  2. I didn't know about ferns. Great informative post. I have to plant some ferns.... Michelle from Nature Notes

  3. Lovely time in the life of a fern, I had no idea they were so delicate. Cheers,Jean

  4. You'd have enjoyed life in Victorian England when ferns were the fashionable plant to have and special rockeries and even cool houses were a feature of many gardens.

  5. I am a fern fan. I love these photos especially the second one. Wonderful!!!

  6. Great pictures of the fiddleheads. I used to live in Quebec City and always looked forward to fiddleheads from New Brunswick. They make great eating and back then the price wasn't as exhorbitant as it is now.

  7. How interesting to see their unfolding!!